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University of Pittsburgh School of Law

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U Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law has provided excellent legal education and training for students since 1895. Their curriculum constantly updates the latest trends and focuses on essential legal topics such as intellectual property, cyber security, and business law. In addition, their school offers a wealth of hands-on learning and career preparation opportunities. Their students also receive generous scholarships to help them afford tuition.


The University of Pittsburgh has formally founded in 1895 and offered law classes as early as 1843, and the first law degrees were conferred in 1847. Up until well past 1850, the main method of legal education in America was an apprenticeship. Many lawyers did not even benefit from journeyman training; they prepared themselves for the bar through self-directed reading, like President Abraham Lincoln. So, when the Western University of Pennsylvania announced law classes at "thirty-seven and one-half dollars a term, payable in advance" in 1843, it was embarking on a largely uncharted course.


The University of Pittsburgh School of Law is highly respected for its academic excellence. They consider various factors when making admissions decisions, including your graduate work, professional experience, and undergraduate GPA. They will decide on a rolling basis.


Admissions Stats
Class of: 2020-2021 2021-2022
25th - 50th - 75th percentile LSAT 155 - 159 - 161 158 - 160 - 162
25th - 50th - 75th percentile GPA 3.22 - 3.51 - 3.76 3.22 - 3.51 - 3.75
Acceptance rate 41.7% 36.6%
Applications received 1061 1243
Acceptances 442 455
Matriculants 125 161

The 2021 Class Profile comprises 1,296 students who applied and 121 who accepted. The median LSAT score is 161, with the 25th and 75th percentile scores 159 and 162, respectively. The median GPA is 3.55, with the 25th and 75th percentile scores being 3.24 and 3.75, respectively. The average class age is 25, and 45% of the class is female, while 55% is male. 21% of the class identifies as belonging to an underrepresented group, and 39% of the class is from a non-resident state. Seventy-one undergraduate institutions are represented in the class.

JD Admissions Process

Pitt Law School only accepts applications for the current year; the deadline is May 1. The admissions process is highly competitive, and the decision is based on many factors. Once your application is complete, the admissions committee will review it. If they can decide, you will be notified by email within a few weeks. You can also check the status of your application online with a username and password that will be sent to you electronically.

Application Requirements

  • To be admitted to the law school, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States before the first day of law school. The admissions committee carefully evaluates graduate work and professional experience, although it utilizes the undergraduate GPA.
  • Applicants must register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) through LSAC and take the LSAT. The latest test score that will be considered for all entries is from the previous February examination. Scores from tests taken more than four years before the current admissions year will not be considered.
  • Beginning with the 2019 Admissions Cycle, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law will accept the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) instead of the LSAT for those students who are enrolled in, admitted to, or intend to enroll in another Graduate Program at the University of Pittsburgh (Joint Degree). Eligible students must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or higher and have scored in at least the 85th percentile when taking the GRE.
  • The University of Pittsburgh School of Law will consider GRE scores in addition to LSAT scores for those who wish to have both considered and who have taken both. The GRE, in this context, acts as a potential positive indicium that the School of Law will consider in connection with an application. Applicants who wish to have their GRE considered must instruct Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send Pitt Law all GRE test scores from the mandated five-year period. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law ETS (DI) code is 4311.
  • A required personal statement gives the committee a view into the non-academic world of the applicant and serves as the interview. This is critical in our ability to enroll in a diverse class. They ask that you keep your statement to no more than two pages, typed and double-spaced. Letters of recommendation play an equally important role in this process as they can reveal the strengths of the applicant's academic achievements. They recommend three letters, although none are required. Letters should be submitted through the LSAC letter of recommendation service.
  • They encourage applicants to submit a Resume, as they give the admissions committee a broader view of their achievements. In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.
  • An enrolled student must submit an official transcript verifying all academic credits undertaken and degree(s) conferred by the first day of class in the 1L year.

Cost of Attendance

The academic year's estimated attendance cost differs for PA and non-PA residents. The cost of attendance covers tuition, fees, books, and living expenses for enrollment, from August to May. Students can receive financial aid up to their Cost of Attendance. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the estimated cost of attendance for JD students is listed below.

PA Resident Non-Resident/International
Estimated Tuition $36,912 $47,504
Housing $12,646 $12,646
Books/Personal $7,116 $7,116
Fees $1,760 $1,760
Transportation $886 $886
PA Bar Exam (3L) $740 $740
Laptop Fee (1L) $1,500 $1,500
Total Estimate Cost (1L) $60,820 $71,412
Total Estimate Cost (2L) $59,320 $69,912
Total Estimate Cost (3L) $60,070 $70,652
Actual 2022-2023 Tuition Cost
Full-Time Cost $37,090 $47,734
Part-Time Cost $1,397 $2,090

These are estimated costs for the nine-month enrollment period.

Graduating 3L students can include the cost for applying for the Bar Exam in their cost of attendance.
Students may not receive financial aid beyond the amount of their Cost of Attendance (COA). If a student has extraordinary documented expenses that exceed their COA, they may request that their COA be increased to cover those additional expenses. Individual budget increases are only approved in cases with a compelling need, as determined by federal guidelines, and when the student provides appropriate documentation. Students should be aware that credit card and car payments cannot be included in their COA. If a student needs a budget increase, they must complete the Cost of Attendance Increase Request form and submit it along with all supporting documentation for review. The expenses will be calculated for the student's enrollment period, not the calendar year. If a budget increase is approved, the student will become eligible for additional loan funding up to the amount of the increase.


To be eligible for a student loan as a law student, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program, and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

  • Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans

The Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan is the most popular type of student loan. This loan is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education and is a guaranteed student loan that is not based on credit. This loan includes subsidized Stafford Loans, which are loans for which the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and through the six-month grace period. Eligibility for the subsidized loan is based on information provided on the FAFSA form.

  • Federal Graduate Plus

The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan program is a government-backed loan available to graduate students. The loan is based on simplified credit check criteria, and the interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan. There is also an option for students to pay the interest on a monthly/quarterly basis, but it is recommended that they pay the interest whenever possible. The graduate PLUS loan interest rate for the 2019-2020 academic year is 7.08%.

  • Private Loans

Various agencies offer private loans to law students. Commercial banks and other lenders often provide these loans. The terms of the loan, such as the maximum loan amount, the interest rate, and the repayment schedule, are determined by each organization. Students are encouraged to consider federal student loans before taking out a private loan. Federal loans offer lower interest rates, more flexible repayment options, and other benefits. When deciding on a private loan, it is essential to research the different options and choose the best loan. Before signing any paperwork, know the interest rates, fees, and repayment terms. It is also important to monitor your total indebtedness and check your credit report regularly.

  • Bar Exam Loans

Bar exam loans are private loans offered by various lenders to help law students and recent law school graduates pay for the expenses related to taking the bar exam. When choosing a bar exam loan provider, it is important to consider the interest rate, fees, and repayment terms. Students are encouraged to utilize any federal funding available during their final year in school before considering a bar exam loan.


All merit scholarships at the law school are renewable for the second and third years, provided the recipient maintains a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 in their legal studies. At the time of admission, the scholarship will be reviewed and awarded to those students who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability. The scholarship renewal is conducted at the end of each academic year. Students whose scholarship is not renewed may request their scholarship reinstated at any time based on earning a cumulative grade point average of 2.8 in their legal studies.


Fellowships offer the opportunity for people to gain legal experience or do scholarly work. These fellowships can be during the academic year or the summer.

Employment prospects & bar passage

It should be no surprise that prospects for law school graduates across the country are less than stellar in this historically depressed legal market. Prospective Pitt students should know what they're getting into and pay particular attention to employment numbers and skyrocketing costs of attendance.

The median salary for a JD graduate from the University of Pittsburgh who works in the private sector is $75,000. If they work in the private sector, they can expect to make $45,000. A little more than half of the law graduates from the University of Pittsburgh go directly to work for law firms, while about 9% clerk for a judge. 10.5% of graduates go into public interest. 84.3% of graduates pass the bar on their first try.

Academics & Curriculum

The Juris Doctor (JD) program at Pitt Law offers a well-rounded legal education, with many opportunities to specialize in different areas of law that are relevant to current issues. You can also pursue a JD and a second master’s degree at Pitt or Carnegie Mellon, which can be completed in less time than it would typically take to complete two consecutive degrees. Additionally, there are many ways to get involved in the community and serve the public by working with a law clinic or participating in national or international moot court competitions.

Joint Degrees

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law offers several joint degree programs that allow students to receive two degrees in a shorter time and for less cost than if they had pursued each degree independently. These programs offer you the opportunity to gain expertise and knowledge in various disciplines. To enroll in a joint degree program, you must apply and be admitted to the School of Law and the cooperative school. After acceptance and 30 days before enrollment to the cooperative school, you must also complete the Joint Degree Notification Form. Failure to complete this form could result in loss of financial aid, higher tuition fees, and other consequences.

Learning Outcomes

The Pitt Law curriculum emphasizes important learning outcomes such as legal analysis, research, and reasoning. Students can identify and articulate the legal issues in a complex factual situation, select and implement an effective research strategy, locate relevant legal authority, and apply the rules or principles of law pertinent to the situation. Furthermore, students can develop and evaluate legal theories relevant to the situation. In addition, students learn about substantive and procedural law, professionalism, and ethics. They also develop other professional skills necessary for a successful career in law.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

The Pitt Law School curriculum provides students with theoretical knowledge and practical experience. This is accomplished through clinics, practicums, externships, the Semester in D.C. Program, moot court, mock trial competitions, and other opportunities for hands-on learning. To fulfill the Experiential Learning graduation requirement, students must complete at least six credits of experiential courses. These courses allow students to perform the experiential skills necessary for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession.


Pitt Law's legal clinics allow students to work with real people and legal and ethical issues. Clinics are supervised by full-time faculty who are practicing attorneys. Students can enroll in a clinic beginning their second year of law school.


Pitt Law's practicum courses offer students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in a specific area of law under the supervision of experienced professionals. These courses provide an excellent way to prepare for a career in law by allowing students to learn from and work with experts in the field. Practicum courses are available in various areas, including criminal law, health law, legal services, disability law, unemployment compensation, education law, and juvenile justice.


The Externship Program at Pitt Law allows students to earn credit for legal work outside of law school. This program is available for J.D. and MSL, and LLM students, but each has different requirements. To qualify for the program, externships must meet the following requirements: they must be with a non-profit or governmental entity, the work must be law- or public policy-related, and an attorney or public policy professional must supervise the student. The externship must also include a minimum of 42 hours of work during the program dates. Students may work at their externship site or remotely, but historically telecommuting is not permitted as part of the program.

Quality of Life

The University of Pittsburgh law school offers a great location with plenty of affordable housing options near campus. Students can ride the city buses for free, and there are many bars and clubs to enjoy in the area. There are also plenty of eateries and cafes nearby. This helps create a collegial environment where students can relax and enjoy their studies.

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
Office of Admissions
Barco Law Building
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

General Phone: (412) 648-1413
Admissions Phone: (412) 648-1413
Fax: (412) 648-1318
Email Admissions: admitlaw@pitt.edu
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday



Established 1895
Location Pittsburgh, PA
Dean Amy Wildermuth
2022 US News Ranking 78th
LSAT Median Score 160
GPA Median Score 3.51
Bar Passage Rate 84% (2022)
Employment Rate 44% (2022)
Cost $60,820
Average Debt $90,925
Application Deadline May 1, 2023

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